SKEPTICAL ENVIRONMENTALISM….The Danish Research Agency

SKEPTICAL ENVIRONMENTALISM….The Danish Research Agency released a report on Tuesday denouncing Danish author Bjorn Lomborg for the presentation of facts in his book The Skeptical Environmentalist. Australian economist John Quiggin, who is quite knowledgable on the subject, summarizes the situation like this:

There’s a sense in which Bjorn Lomborg is entitled to feel aggrieved about the finding of scientific dishonesty made against him. His book is no more or less dishonest than the average book on this topic coming out of the thinktanks on both sides.

Not exactly a stirring defense, but it’s about the best he’s going to get. As Quiggin put it in another post, “Lomborg is free to believe the most optimistic estimates on every environmental issue, and the most pessimistic estimates of the cost of doing anything. But he shouldn’t call himself ‘skeptical’ or an ‘environmentalist’.”

It’s really too bad that Lomborg took the approach he did. A lot of environmentalists these days really have slid all the way down a slippery slope in which they oppose any environmental damage regardless of the cost of doing so. The proper approach is honest cost-benefit analysis, a necessary first step in prioritizing scarce resources, and Lomborg could have made a good case for this. As it is, Lomborg slid all the way to the bottom of the opposite slope and ended up making a case for nothing. Pity.

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